Thursday, February 5, 2009

Book Review

I fnished reading Tri Power: The Ultimate Strength Training, Core Conditioning, Endurance, and Flexibility Program for Triathlon Success the other night. I really enjoyed this book, and the program they promote. It is well researched, seems effective, and appropriate for runners and triathletes.

I talked some a few posts ago about balance. I think balance and stability is what gives us power and endurance basis points. When we run, we want to limit the side to side movements, and be sure all movement is helping us move forward. Same thing on the bike, without balance we would fall over a lot. And in the pool balance and stability in the water helps us rotate properly and keep a full range of motion and easier breathing. Tri Power focuses on balance, stability and core conditioning.

I think this book has equal appeal to men and women. I used to train like a bodybuilder, even though I never had the mass or definition to enter a competition. So I am intrinsically skeptic of a weightlifting book that doesn't have heavy bench press as a focal point. But this program starts with a complete look at the core, from sternum to hip flexors front and back. A lot of the exercises are body weight or light dumbells/bands for resistance, and tons of time on the swiss ball. So the true focus of the program is to help specifically with one or all of the tri sports.

It is a program, not just a suggestion. There is strength training, where you actually try and increase upper body, lower body, and core strength; flexibility which prevents injury and allows the muscles to stay supple and able to train hard; and finally conditioning which allows the muscles to perform for longer periods of time. The program is designed to take 6 - 9 months to cover you through the entire season of races. There is a self-assessment you are supposed to take every 4 weeks to monitor progress in strength and flexibility. Then 4 days a week you do 15 minutes of stretching and simple excersises. 2 days a week there is a longer strength training session, depending on what phase of the program you are in. There are base, strength gain, and maintenance phases of the program, so you can sustain it throughout the racing season.

I think a program like this is what can make the difference between completing races and competing in them. It can also be the difference between running the entire year comfortably and having overuse and form injuries. The worst thing I did in my marathon training plan was running and nothing else. I let my core fall into a secondary position. And that's when the knees, ankles and shins started acting up and bringing in new pains. When you work on your form and get plenty of cross training your body will be in balance. Focusing on only running will only work those muscles, and the body gets out of balance. Stay in balance, and you will stay healthy and show improvements in every area.

Don't use Tri Power unless you want to stay stable, injury free, and in balance. I'm taking the week after the marathon off (feb 15 - 21), then I'm going to start this program first thing on the 22nd. I really think this is what's been missing from my marathon plan. It's achievable, steady, and beneficial.


And as if my spring fever wasn't bad enough, I got my garden planned out for this year. last year I had two spaces for veg, and one of them was too acidic to really perform well. I had some beans that grew pretty well there, but this year i'm going to do something else.

I finally got my Ison's order placed. Ison's is a small family owned nursery in southeastern Georgia. they are in zone 8, so anything they can grow and sell will also do very well in the pacific northwest for all of my Portland peeps. This is a hidden jewel that is only known around some parts of the south, and they ship some amazing products. I ordered 3 seedless grape vines, 7 blueberry bushes, and 2 boysenberry bushes. Last year, I got 3 muscadine vines, they should set fruit this year and I can't wait. My grandfather found them years ago, and grew about 20 muscadine vines on his farm. I'm going to put up the grapes next to my trellis of muscadines, and make the underperforming veg patch from last year into a full berry patch. The strawberry plants I put in there last year did ok, but the squirrels ate most of the berries. still, those plants will be back this year and I can cover the whole patch with netting.

I also got my seed order placed for Park's Seeds. They are another local seed and plant shop, in Greenwood about an hour and a half from here. I'm doing an oly tri in Greenwood this year. But Parks is pretty well known around the country. I ordered some corn, plenty of peppers, some peas, and another 25 strawberry plants with growin bags. I'm going to try hanging some strawberries this year too.

So I'm expanding the veg patch that did pretty well last year. I still have to de-weed last years patch, and clear out grass and border up the new space. But the veg list for this year includes:
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Okra
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Gourds
  • Melons
  • Pumpkins
  • Pole and Bush green beans
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers (sweet, hot, bell, banana)
  • Corn
  • Peas

all in a single 60 x 30 ft patch. A lot of those grow like vines, so I'm going to take advantage of that. Use the taller products like tomatoes and corn to shade the veg that burns in the afternoon sun like beans, squash & zuc, and I think I've got a decent plan put together. Now all it takes is the actual work to get the beds ready and limed, get the soil ammended, and start some of the seeds in flats inside.

I'm also going to do plenty of herbs, but I discovered last year that it was too much of a pain to leave something on the stove to go to the backyard and grab fresh herbs. So all of the herbs are going in containers on the deck. They grow really well there, and the squirrels tend to leave herbs alone up there.

I didn't order anything from Seeds of Change this year, but I normally do. They are an all organic, carbon neutral organization, and the tree hugger in me likes supporting that. But I bought such a low volume of seeds this year, that I just went to Park's. I wanted the Silver Queen corn, and SoC didn't have it.

So it's off to work! I seem to be making a lot of work for myself now, with a new strength training program, garden plan, and tons of code to write. and miles to go before i sleep, and miles to go before i sleep. Have a great day!


Amber said...

I just ordered the book! I need to shake up my strength routine!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

SOLD! I sure hope you know what you're talking about, because I just put a core conditioning book on hold here at the library. I would have put the title you reviewed on hold but the library I work at doesn't own it and neither does the library my wife works at (so what the freak are my tax dollars going for anyways?) and I'm too legendarily cheap to buy it so I just put a hold on a title that looked like it might've been this one's second cousin, subjectwise.

Because my core is pretty hollow, presently, and maybe that's why I'm in PT at the moment and not running.

Anyroad, thanks for stopping by my blog and I'm not sure what a meat-punch is but I assume it involves being punched in some sort of particularly meaty way or perhaps on a meaty part of the body - either way, sounds painful and nearly as humiliating as being farted on.

Good luck on your marathon, brother. Remember: Any fart that doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Until the next meat-punch puts you down for the count, that is.

teacherwoman said...

I am so going to look into that book! Sounds like just what I need! Thanks for the resource, dude!

Ryan said...

Are you running the marathon in overalls, straw hat, and a piece of wheat in your mouth Mr. Farmer?

LeatherneckJoe said...

I would also respectfully submit Garden Harvest Supply as a good online resource for organic minded folks. They offer seeds and potted vegetable plants.

Alisa said...

I just added that book to my amazon wish list. I really want to jump on the Tri wagon this summer. In Juy or August, since i have a marathon in May =).

Your garden list was making me salivate for summer veggies. Someday my hubby and I will have space for a garden too (hopefully).